Tuesday, July 24, 2012 -
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov fired his road transport minister this week and threatened to sack the chief of the national airline company unless he shapes up his operations.
Road Transport Minister Serdar Berkeliev was “dismissed for serious shortcomings in his work”, said a Turkmen government news release.
The official was severely reprimanded twice “but he did not undertake the proper directives from these warnings,” the Bernama news agency cited the statement as reading.
Berkeliev was axed following the conclusions of an investigation by the internal affairs ministry and the ministry of road transport.
The probe uncovered a raft of failings.
Among them, ministry drivers drove dangerously, frequently exceeding speed limits and violating traffic rules.
Bus drivers took their vehicles home for unscheduled breaks and failed to provide passengers with tickets, prompting frequent complaints from the citizens.
Furthermore, transport companies that improperly maintained and operated heavy vehicles that damaged roads and endangered other traffic users got off with little more than a slap on the wrists.
Berdimuhamedov’s beef against Merdan Ayazov, president of Turkmenistan Airlines, is over the slow pace of revamping at some airports and shortcomings over ticket sales, the Trend news agency reported.
The Turkmen president also drew Ayazov’s attention to problems facing plans for a new airport for the capital city Ashgabat.
The Turkmen government can little afford such obstacles owing to its program of purchasing new airplanes and expanding the number of international destinations for passengers and cargo.
Turkmenistan’s airports currently handle around 1.8 million international and domestic passengers annually.